The Daily Beast fell for fake news spread by a Reuters parody Twitter account on Sunday, publishing a hoax that claimed to expose the recent Quebec mosque shooters as two “white supremacists.”
“Police said two suspects were in custody after the attack. They were identified as white supremacists “David M. J. Aurine” and “Mathieu Fornier,” according to Reuters,” wrote the Daily Beast on Sunday, unaware that their “Reuters” source was fake. “This is not the first time the mosque has suffered from a hate crime. In July, a pig’s head was left at the mosque.”
The fake account known as @ReutersBrk, which the Daily Beast sourced as “Reuters” despite the fact that it was listed as a parody account, attempted to spread the hoax that alt-right bloggers Matt Forney and Davis M.J. Aurini (both names spelled differently in the hoax) were responsible for the attack, using both of their pictures in their tweet.
The account, which has spread numerous other hoaxes in the past, has since been suspended by Twitter.
After being made aware of the fake news that they had published, the Daily Beast corrected their article and added the following editors note at the end of the piece:
Editor’s note: This piece originally stated that Reuters reported the names of the assailants. However, the information came from a Reuters parody social-media account. We regret the error and have deleted the information.
The Daily Beast, as well as various other mainstream media journalists who fell for the obvious hoax, were mocked on Twitter following the incident.
— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) January 30, 2017
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) January 30, 2017
Other journalists who initially fell for the hoax on social media included Yahoo News’ Garance Franke-Ruta, VICE News’ Tamara Khandaker, and managing editor of the Interpreter, James Miller, who claimed that “its harder to tell,” what’s real and what’s fake when he’s using his phone.
thanks for the heads up, deleted RT.
— Dr Donna Bowman (@donnadb) January 30, 2017
@R_Scrivens parody account! Undid my RT
— Tamara Khandaker (@anima_tk) January 30, 2017
grrrr. Sorry. On my phone and its harder to tell
— James Miller (@Millermena) January 30, 2017
As the Daily Caller reports, “The Daily Beast is a frequent critic of the ‘fake news’ phenomenon and has published several articles denouncing fabricated stories as a threat to American democracy.”
The real Quebec mosque shooting suspects are currently unknown.